|Denise Wyatt in Mansel Park|
UPDATED (24th April 2018): We are inserting a section from another post on what we have done over the years to work with local sports clubs.
"When a group of residents raised concerns about the new pitch by Bush Hill FC on Mansel Park, Councillor Pope spoke to over a hundred local residents about their views. Following listening to them, Councillor Pope raised those concerns with Bush Hill FC. He also publicly offered, via the Daily Echo, to broker talks between residents opposed to it.
Andrew sought assurances from the manager of Bush Hill FC, about concerns relating to parking and road safety. Later, Cllr Pope also raised the prospect of progression by Bush Hill FC with the manager,and any potential issues with their lease of the public park and its impact on local residents.
Cllr Pope made it clear that Bush Hill FC have a LEASE on a PUBLIC PARK, and that it must remain a public park. And Cllr Pope did not object and sought residents' views on the new pitch in order to obtain compromises.
A compromise was a tubular fence around the pitch, not a solid metal one. Bush Hill FC agreed. Cllr Pope therefore did not object to the new pitch and the tubular fence."
Because of the rogue motorbikes, we have been campaigning for a fence around Mansel Park. We have worked with the Police to achieve this.
But both the Police and Southampton Independents have been frustrated by the Labour-run Council.
They don't want a fence, even though it is an obvious solution. No money they say! We've heard all that before, haven't we - about sprinklers, about roads, about closure of care centres. It's the same old BS from Southampton Labour.
But there is a proposal to put up a fence on this public park. It is being promoted by the manager of Bush Hill FC as "ground improvements". It is planning application 18/00394/FUL.
The title of the application is:
"18/00394/FUL | Erection of a screen fence with gates around football pitch | Mansel Park Kendal Avenue Southampton"
The title of the application, and the comments on this planning application from our Councillor Andrew Pope and our Redbridge Council Candidate Denise Wyatt can be seen at this link here.
But this application is not about the claimed "ground improvements".
This is about a public park being sectioned off by a private club BY A SOLID METAL MASSIVE FENCE. How is this a "ground improvement"?
This is WIDER than the football pitch and will be gated off from public access, with gates.
Bush Hill FC have a lease, but they need to remember that it is COUNCIL-OWNED LAND.
It is up to the Council to enforce the lease and protect the land. Why isn't the Labour Council advising them that this is outside the terms of the lease?
Cllr Pope has repeatedly advised the manager of Bush Hill FC that like all local sports clubs, he is delighted that Bush Hill FC hope to progress, but Cllr Pope has repeatedly stressed that any future progression or ground requirements would need to be discussed.
No such discussions occurred before the current planning application was submitted. As stated in the planning application, it includes a 2.4m high solid metal fence in a prominent location in the park.
If Bush Hill FC had approached us to discuss it, like Millbrook Rugby Club did, we would have told them that residents do not want to see more public park removed. But Bush Hill FC made no such approach or intention to discuss it. They just submitted the planning application.
If Bush Hill FC wish to expand, we wish them well in their progression. But if they wish to keep using a public park, they must properly seek discussions with residents. And if not, they may wish to seek an alternative site for their progression. Why not ground share with, for example, Queens Keep at Five Acres? Have any discussions taken place?
More questions need to be answered by the Labour-run Council:
What have the Labour Council said to Bush Hill FC?
Have they provided any pre-application advice?
We will be asking for answers.
To be clear, we support local sports clubs. But we have pledged to protect our parks and open spaces. So compromises are needed.
Public parks are shared between all users - dog walkers, walkers, cyclists, football players and so on. They cannot be sectioned or hived off from public use by private clubs or private companies.
This proposal threatens to lose more public park to a private club.
If an alternative is proposed, we will listen to it. But we stress that Bush Hill FC did not seek to discuss this "ground improvements"/solid metal fence with us, with Southampton Parks Protection or with us. And the application itself includes very little detail, or reasoning as to why they want this fence.
So without these discussions, we had no option but to object to this massive fence on a public park. It's not a "ground improvement" at all.
Residents have also objected and the Southampton Parks Protection have also objected.
Unlike Southampton Labour, Southampton Independents tries very hard to keep our promises to residents to protect park and open spaces.
And we will continue to do so.